The Sun in St Paul

Have you ever gone on a vacation and gotten sick?
Have you ever had a BIG exciting trip waiting for you, only to experience delays, snafus, and disappointment?

It can be so frustrating!

We have so much to balance these days, and those precious vacation days or DAY are what we look forward to.

A chance to have a NEW experience, to relax, to get away from the GRIND.

Isn’t everything supposed to be perfect in these moments?
Haven’t you worked hard enough that you deserve peace and ease?

As an Artist, these moments are so crucial to recharge.

Has this ever happened to you?
How did it affect you?

 

Two weeks ago, I boarded a plane with my fiance for Anchorage, Alaska.  My bags were packed with my binoculars, and many warm layers, ready to stand in the cold winds so I could witness the bountiful birds far North.

If you didn’t know, I’m a birder:)  I geek out over feathers, migration, and wing spans.

Birding nourishes me.  It’s time in nature slows me to the present moment, and has commonly been bonding time with my family.  In the wake of my divorce, my parents bought me a pair of binoculars, and I started going to birding festivals with them.

At a time when I was in deep pain, I found birding to be a healing balm.

My family and I planned this trip over a year ago, and we’ve been talking about it for months, getting so excited and even all buying the same Eddie Bauer coat in different colors.

On every level, I was VERY ready for a break.  Planning my wedding, running my business, settling into NJ, and recovering from a shoulder injury, I could feel it was time.

We touched down in Anchorage, after two long flights, and I could feel my body relaxing.  We took a selfie with a stuffed moose in the airport and met up with my aunt who’s flight got in right after ours.

VACATION! Yay!

We met up with our family, our tour guides, and the rest of the tour group (16 in all!) and crashed right after dinner.  With travel, we had been up for 22 hours.

The next morning we all flew to St. Paul, part of the Pribilof Islands, and the farthest west you can go in the United States.

St. Paul was cold, barren, and very windy.  The sign at our hotel said, “The Galapagos of the North”, as it is a huge destination for birders.  Indeed the hotel was full, not only with another tour group, but Cornell Ornithology research teams.

At dinner I started to feel light headed and nauseous, so I turned down the night birding and went to bed early so I could be well rested for the next day.

After a long night of sleep, I woke up feeling better, but as the morning progressed, I felt like my energy level was at 20%.  At breakfast, I turned to the tour guide and said,
I’m not doing so well….

My mother held her hand to my forehead, no fever.  I looked at her and said,
I think I’m going to pass out.

The room swirled for a moment, and I knew I couldn’t go birding.  One of our guides drove me back to the hotel, and I could feel the disappointment rising.

This isn’t what I wanted.
What’s happening?
Why NOW?

Have you ever felt like this?

I went back to my room, feeling like I was walking through soup…crawled under the covers, and crashed.

 

Two hours later, I woke up.  The hotel was so quiet. The guide was going to be coming back in another hour or two to check on me.  I had time, and reached into my bag for The Sun.

The Sun is a collection of interviews, short stories and poems.  I love it.  I started reading it four years ago, and it used to be my weekly joy.

Then life became very full with launching my business, and my daily time to read was cut shorter and shorter.  I used to take it on the subway, but my commutes were soon filled with social media and catching up on emails.

I had to stop my subscription to The Sun, because I had so many issues piling up.  I would wistfully look at all the magazines, hoping time would open so I could read them.

And here, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean…..I finally had the time to read.

As I opened the page, I could feel a warmth coming over my body; almost a sigh of relief. After reading a few stories, I decided to check in with my body and do some healing.

I did Walter McKichen’s Rainbow Meditation, where I brought energy up from the earth, to each of my chakras, one at a time.  On every chakra, the color was strong and traveled up my right leg to my center line, and then down my left.

Except one…my second chakra.

This is the chakra for creativity.

The color was so light, and barely traveled up my right leg. Usually bright orange, it was almost a dull gray.

So, I went back to bed.  I slept again, and again.  I stayed in the hotel, not going out birding.

And I finished reading The Sun.

As I closed the last page, a huge smile came across my face.  I could feel my energy coming back, and the dull gray morning light had now turned into afternoon sunshine coming into my room.

I remembered coming home from college, so exhausted, and then sleeping for a day.  I remembered a Christmas where I laid on the couch opening presents because I had the flu.  I remembered so many times I had gotten sick….and I realized what they all had in common…

My body needed to rest.

I had finally given it the space to recharge, and this is what it looked like for ME.
I actually was given the space to nourish what needed the most nourishment.

I had finally stopped, gotten off the carousel of my life, and here I was…..me and the Sun; shining it’s bright lights of inspiration and stories of humanity.

Right before dinner time, I sat up and did the Rainbow Meditation again, and when I came to my second chakra, the brightest orange light climbed up my right leg, connected at my spine, and then gloriously traveled down my left.

In flow.

I opted out of evening birding again, and slept soundly for 9 hours.  And the next day, I put on my binoculars, and saw Puffins for the first time in my life.

 

It’s a fallacy that we can push forever.  We all need rest, and most of all, we REALLY need it as Artists.  Our work comes from a very deep place, and is highly personal.

We decided to become Artists because we LOVE our Art, and we love expressing it.

This is not a process to PUSH through, or create on fumes.

The body never lies.  As Creative forces, we need to stay connected to our inner life, because it is our inner life and humanity we are expressing in our work. If your body is calling for rest again and again, listen.

So, what is your Sun?
What nourishes your Creative flow?

If you were to take a moment and stop….what would happen?

Things may really slow down….AND you may be getting exactly what you need.

Open the pages.

Open to your Sun.

Your Personal Screen

Do you ever get to the end of your day and feel like NOTHING got done?

It can be so frustrating, right?

You are staring at your Creative Projects, and feeling like they are just in stand still mode. You woke up this morning with the best intentions, you woke up inspired and ready to take action on your Art and truly be Unstoppable…..

And then,
Email
Texts
Laundry
Shopping
Facebook
Unexpected Family Issue
s
Phone Calls

All these OTHER things pulled you from your Art. And the voice rises up so loud,
You’ll work on this WHEN these other things are taken care of.
There’s TOO much to do!
Let me just take care of this one more thing now…..

You feel like a ping pong ball, scattered in a million directions and end your day frazzled, overwhelmed, and no closer to receiving the acclaim you desire. And your inner critic is having a parade in your head saying,
This will NEVER Happen!

Have you ever felt like this?
How do we turn this around and actually have our days work FOR us instead of against?

 

I’m settling in more, living in New Jersey suburbia.  My body is settling too, and I found myself putting on some weight.  I realized the pace of running a business out of a home is very different than running a business out of an apartment in NYC.

The biggest thing missing?
The walking of public transportation.  NYC is a place with exercise built in, the streets, the subway steps…something I had taken for granted, until I was living in a home and had a car as transportation.

So, last week, I found myself at a gym, and as I climbed onto the elliptical, what struck me most were all the TVs plastered across the walls above the mirrors.

So many of them with blinking screens and flashing lights…
Talk Shows
24 News Channels
Reality TV

Close Captioning bold letters moving across the screens,
Trump’s latest Tweet
Rain Expected for Days!
Fatal School Bus Crash

And I could feel my chest tightening.  I could feel the initial urge to want to read every word. And then I looked down at my elliptical machine screen, and saw an option,
Courses.

When I clicked on this, I saw I could choose a course titled :
Grand Staircase Hike.

As I am a HUGE lover of outdoors, I clicked right away and found myself immersed on a hike through the National Parks of Utah.  I felt my chest relax, and realized the course was taking me on a path.
One single path.

Every now and then, I would gaze up at the TV screens calling me to get involved in Russia, Weather systems, or endless footage on a continued repeated loop of an angry tennis player smashing a camera. My path was still laid out in front of me, and yet these other screens were taunting me with their headlines.

And in that moment I thought of you.

 

Distraction is the destroyer of productivity.

And it comes in SO many forms today.  We have devices and screen ALL around us vying for our energy.

And while we wake every day WITH energy, we only have so much, and that tank is dependent on how much sleep we got, our general health, our mental well being, and our nutrition.

As our day continues, that tank lessens and lessens before we need to recharge again with sleep.

So, how do you want to use your energy?
How are you beginning your day when your tank is most full?

And most importantly, what is your path?

What is your vision, that juicy desire that brought you to your brush, your music, your dance, and your pencil?

Too often, we just throw ourselves into our work with no real vision of what we truly want.  Since we aren’t connected to what’s most alive and important to us as Artists, we will get easily distracted.

And there is a LOT of garbage on those screens.

Take stock, and ask yourself,
What helps me stay focused?
What inspires me to stay on my path of receiving the acclaim I desire?

And check in with your body.

What causes constriction?
What pulls your mind in a million pieces?

I can say for myself, News Channels are a one way ticket to a black hole.  I can feel every creative element in me shut down.  Reality TV does this too.

Having visual inspiration is vital for our Art, as most of us are visual learners, however, our minds can only focus on ONE THING at a time.  Multitasking is actually a fallacy.  It’s exhausting your brain, overstimulating your nervous system, and putting you into overwhelm.

And how does that affect your Creative Flow?
It shuts it DOWN.

So, if you only chose one screen…..what would be playing?

And my invitation is to turn the others off.

I used to have a DVR so full, I literally couldn’t catch up on all the shows I thought I “had” to watch.  In truth, the hours I was spending every night in front of the TV were just distractions keeping me from the fact my whole marriage was falling apart, and I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my performance career.

When the bottom fell out, one of the first things I laid a boundary on was the TV.  I shut out all the crazy noise so I could actually connect back with what was most important to me.

So, what is most important to you?

Recognize the distractions for what they are, and come back to your path.

 

What is your path that inspires you and energizes you?

Turn off the other screens.
They were just draining you anyway.

Walk on your Grand Staircase, and ENJOY the single view.